Re: Q and Papias

   Date: Fri, 28 Oct 1994 08:17:06 -0400 (EDT)
   From: "Gregory Jordan (ENG)" <jordan@chuma.cas.usf.edu>
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   Cc: b-greek@virginia.edu
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   On Thu, 27 Oct 1994, Michael I Bushnell wrote:

   > Whatever the origin of the narrative (and for the record I side with
   > the "piece of the whole cloth theory") it is not some primal
   > autographic ur-text that Christians look to, but the canonical text of
   > the Gospel.  To understand Matthew one cannot begin by retreating to
   > some earlier text which is not Matthew.

   This does sound as though words are being put into Christians'
   mouths; not only _sola scripture_ but (very much like Luther) _sola
   mea scriptura_.  I'm not sure Christian history supports an
   arbitrary restriction to the canonicals, although at present
   there's little else to look to (no archaeologists uncovering copies
   of Q to the horror of some).  Anyone who's scanned through
   Eusebius's Eccl. Hist. knows how freewheeling the canonization
   process was, and at best, this higher criticism just seems a more
   careful, modern retreading of what the church did in the centuries
   of canon formation.

   On that note, however - why was it that there was so little controversy 
   over the gospels, esp. considering their discrepancies and similarities 
   (the former would seem to have made some suspect as fraudulent, and the 
   latter would seem to have made some superfluous and thus unpreserved)?

I'm afraid you've made an unwarranted assumption.  I'm an
Anglo-Catholic; it's quite surprising to be accused of
_sola_scriptura_!  So the fact that I defend the actual Scriptures
against interlopers doesn't mean that there is nothing but the
Scriptures for the Church.  

The Scriptures have a place in the Church, and that place is occupied
by the actual Scriptures, as they were actually canonized.
Hypothetical (or even discovered) ur-texts are not the canonized
texts, and so they don't occupy that place.  They might occupy a
different place--but they are not then the Scriptures.

This place occupied by the Scriptures is not the sole source of
authority in the Church, I would confess; I do not believe the
doctrine of _sola_scriptura_.  But the place occupied by the
Scriptures is not occupied by supposed ur-scriptures.

It's quite off the point to notice the politics and mechanism of the
process of canonization; the early ecumenical councils were also
filled with politics, and this doesn't give me reason to doubt the
Nicene Creed.

Heck, I'm a good Anglican.  I'd argue that there's an Incarnational
emphasis in the Church's doctrine coming about by an earthy political
process instead of a docetistic pristine dictation.


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